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Are We Scaring Ourselves to Death?: How Pessismism, Paranoia, and a Misguided Media are Leading Us Toward Disaster [Kindle Edition]

H. Aaron Cohl
2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $7.99
Sold by: Macmillan
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Book Description

-In the last twenty years, incidents of crime have declined by 25 percent.
-Automobiles of today emit just 1 percent of the pollution that spewed from cars of the 1970s.
-The national recycling rate is about 22 percent-seven times the rate of only ten years ago.
-The average human life span continues to increase.

Given all of these positive trends, why do so many people envision a bleak future for the world? More to the point, why are so many people scaring themselves to death?

In this lively and accessible expose, author H. Aaron Cohl reveals how media madness and simple human psychology fuel the fires of paranoia. He demonstrates how alarming headlines ("Breast Cancer Strikes One in Eight Women," U.S. News and World Report) are frequently derived from misunderstood or misquoted statistics ("Breast cancer strikes on in eight women at age 95," National Cancer Institute).

Readers will learn the encouraging realities of asbestos, drive-by shootings, and pesticides. Cohl also dispels misconceptions about mad cow disease, the greenhouse effect, and the dangers of air travel. Fresh, funny and informative, Are We Scaring Ourselves to Death? is a perfect antidote to sensationalized headlines of today's newspapers. H. Aaron Cohl has written a book that will put many troubled minds at ease.

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In this highly enjoyable, appropriately cynical compendium, Cohl examines and critiques cyanide in Chilean grapes, the scourge of herpes, killer hamburgers, and other media scare stories. The point isn't that such stories are constructed of whole cloth but that the kernels of disturbing truth in them are touted disproportionately and repeated ad infinitum; for example, in the case of the Chilean grapes, two grapes were found to contain nonlethal amounts of cyanide. But the media-spawned legend, rather than the truth, had passed into public consciousness, and eventually the FDA pulled all Chilean fruit from U.S. markets. Why does this kind of thing happen, over and over? The section titles in the chapter "Media Madness" offer clues: "Front-Page Fever," "Journalists Aren't Scientists," "The Complications of Simplification," etc. Cohl's book is such a cornucopia for the responsibly well informed that he should consider making it the first in a series of similar exposes. Mike Tribby

About the Author

H. Aaron Cohl is a lawyer living in Los Angeles.

Product Details

  • File Size: 275 KB
  • Print Length: 160 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (March 15, 1997)
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005OQWN7I
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,999,609 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

2.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars debunks oversimplified media-hyped paranoia October 29, 1998
By A Customer
This book debunks oversimplified media-hyped paranoia. What I don't get is why so many people apparently prefer to scare themselves to reading rational books like this. It's a pop book, though: few references.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious March 5, 2013
By KellyC
Format:Kindle Edition
While Cohl's argument may have some mass communications studies merits, his overdramatic writing style negates the seriousness of his arguments.
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2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Scary! October 7, 2003
I wasn't worried about much at all until I saw this book. Apparently it's not only the case that pessimism, paranoia and misguided media are very widespread, but we're also heading for disaster! I was vaguely aware of the first three, but wasn't particularly worried about it until this book pointed out the latter. Now I'm battling pessimism and paranoia that I had never known before. Is this book enough to prevent the impending doom? This book is scaring me to death!
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15 of 42 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Fact-Free Diatribe December 14, 1998
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In this weak and pointless polemic, the author treats the complex subject of dietary fat in just 3 pages. After assailing some of the scare-mongering about saturated fat, he vaciliates for several paragraphs about whether we should or should not worry. Finally, he concludes "ancient wisdom has prescribed moderation." "We shouldn't be scaring ourselves to death over cancer," he proclaims, but rather "thanking our scientists and physicians for allowing us to live longer." I found this superficial and opinionated tract without merit.
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